Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Stress About Strabismus

I had mentioned a while back that my daughter has one of her eyes that wasn't tracking as well as the other and that it had become a concern. So yesterday my wife took our little one to the ophthalmologist. It was a long visit but we learned some very important things.

My daughter's vision is actually near 20-20 but she has a condition known as a strabismus. That's where the eyes are misaligned in relation to each other. It can cause double vision and what's worse is that the brain can start to shut down one eye in order to compensate for the double vision. This is a condition that occurs to varying degrees in about 5% of all children and in a much higher percentage of 1p36 deletion children. There are many variations and causes of strabismus. For an excellent resource on the condition see http://www.strabismus.org/.

The ophthalmologist suggested that we try covering my daughter's dominant eye with an adhesive patch for four hours each day to force her brain to pay attention to the eye that has stopped tracking as well. Today was her first day with the patch and I can report that it was a less than pleasant experience for all involved. I can't blame the little girl though. I wouldn't want my dominant eye blocked out by some sticky band-aid thing for four hours either.

The most difficult thing is that the eye doctor didn't offer much promise that the patches would help. He's going to let us try it for six weeks and then he'll look at her again. The reason for the rush is that time is of the essence in correcting this disorder. It can be resolved surgically by going in and tightening up the muscles around the eye, but the longer we wait the lower the chance of success. So we already have contact info for a surgeon at the Moran Eye Center and we're standing by. The procedure is just out patient, but it's still a concern. I guess when it comes right down to it though, if it helps my daughter see, we'll do it.

She can't speak and she can't hear real well so we can't risk limiting her vision too.

1 comment:

bella said...

I'm sorry that you are going through this with your LO... what a bummer! But, I've heard good things about the patching and about the surgeries as well. We are still watching EK for the strabismus issues, but know now that she is going to need surgery around 4 or 5 years old for her low lids. Not thrilled, but you do what you have to, yes?

You will both be in our thoughts!

--bella